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BTC found to be in breach of regulations

The Bermuda Telephone Company had failed to give “clear and transparent terms and conditions” for its broadband services, according to the Regulatory Authority. A statement by the RA said yesterday they had reviewed and investigated BTC's new Fair Usage Policy relating to its internet services.

“The RA informed BTC that its new Fair Usage Policy was in breach of various licence conditions, regulations and determinations,” the statement said.

“As such, BTC was directed by the RA to withdraw its new Fair Usage Policy, revert to its previous policy and to notify all of its customers of this change through its website, customer bills and notice in the local paper no later than 30 August, 2016.

“BTC have informed the RA that the new Fair Usage Policy has been withdrawn.”

An RA spokeswoman explained the issue, saying: “It was determined by the RA that BTC failed to act in accordance with its duties and obligations of its Integrated Communications Operating Licence and other relevant regulations and administrative determinations by not giving clear and transparent terms and conditions that apply to its broadband services.”

She said the changes affected customers by failing to give them proper notice of the changes, and not allowing the customers to opt out of the service without penalty if the changes were adverse to them.

“BTC additionally failed to seek prior RA approval for any additional fees for service which it intended to charge for reconnection, after a customer has been disconnected,” she said.

Matthew Copeland, chief executive of the RA, added: “The RA has a remit to protect the interests of consumers and ensure that providers of internet and broadband services comply with relevant regulation. When BTC introduced its new Fair Usage Policy we had immediate related concerns which led to the RA investigating the matter.

“Following a letter to BTC specifying various areas of regulatory non-compliance and planned RA actions, BTC agreed to withdraw the new Fair Usage Policy.”

As of yesterday afternoon, the “Fair Use Policy” listed in the Internet Terms and Conditions on the BTC website states in part: “If your usage of a particular Service materially exceeds estimated use patterns over any month or is inconsistent with normal usage patterns, then your usage will be excessive and/or unreasonable. If your usage is excessive and/or unreasonable we may contact you to advise you that your usage is in breach of our Fair Use Policy.

“We may then request that you stop or alter your usage to come within our Fair Use Policy. If your excessive or unreasonable usage continues after we ask you to stop or alter the nature of such usage, we may without further notice, suspend, modify or restrict your use of the Service(s) or cancel your access to the Service(s).”

The previous BTC policy stated: “If a customer is deemed by the service provider to make excessive use of his service, the service may be (i) restricted, either in terms of general access or the download speeds at which the customer is permitted to access the service.

“The customer may, at his option and at the discretion of the service provider opt to have his download speeds restored upon the payment of a fee. Unless the customer opts to subscribe to an alternative service package as per item (ii), there will be no changes in the price or the terms of the Customer's Service; or (ii) the customer may be asked to subscribe to an alternative Service package more suitable to his usage.

“The service provider, at its sole discretion, will determine from time to time what constitutes excessive use of the service. In the event that the customer refuses to comply or neglects the service provider's Fair Usage Policy, the service provider has the right to unilaterally terminate or modify the service to the customer.”

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Published August 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm (Updated August 26, 2016 at 4:18 am)

BTC found to be in breach of regulations

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